Richmond Diary



Wanderings on the Way Home

Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 1 comment

Wanderings on the Way Home

Wanaka What a strange place it is now from when I first wandered by. At least it does have a shopping area. Retrograde ‘progress’ with all the expanding houses scattered right out to Hawea Flat. From my observations many small towns have simply burst their boundaries with no forward planning at all. With all the talk of conserving the world, why are there so many so called life style blocks? It seems to me to be an extravagant waste of land conservation wise.  Lake Wanaka after leaving Makarora. I remember an old saw miller telling me once that a local couple wanted rimu for their new house so he sourced a supply for them.  A couple of years later another couple nearby wanted to build a house using rimu but the first couple protested and stopped them using rimu.  Now it’s reasonable not to use rimu like this, but it seems to many, it’s ok for me but not anyone else. The same sort of thinking goes for large sections? ….  Councils seem to be intent of these subdivisions to garner taxes for their little empires?  Bendigo One has to really look to find Bendigo and the historic and scenic reserves nearby. They are more historic but well worth seeking out. It was gold that they found here in 1862 and the remains of their workings and huts are scattered around. Once the alluvial gold was taken they started digging so here and there are abandoned mine shafts. The remains of the old miners stone huts seem to appear whenever one looks closer along the gully sides. Most have maybe one or two walls left standing but there are also some that mainly just have the roof missing. Pengally Hotel is in a similar state. I think it is a shame that DOC doesn’t keep things properly maintained. At least stop any further deterioration to the stone work and other relics like the old drays.   Logantown relics, Bendigo area. Pengally Hotel, Bendigo area. This is the country where the ‘world famous’ sheep Shek wandered about and he must have had some good hiding places to evade being rounded up and shorn like the rest of the flock. Grape vines creep up higher to this area than before and one wonders how they can survive in such dry rocky country. Water  from our reducing supply pumped up to them I guess.  Cromwell The old part of the town is quite good and well worth a visit – the ‘new’ part not nice now. The much thought of the new shopping area soon after the dam was built now has many vacant deserted shops and the place seems to be distorted somehow. Queues form at the coffee shops and toilets these days it seems. Old Cromwell. Ophir P&T sign. Clyde is just off State Highway 8 and rests below the Clyde Dam that holds back the water of the long Lake Dunstan. The town was ‘disturbed’ when the dam was being built but now it seems relaxed and preserved!  We wandered around the old but well presented buildings and had lunch.  Ophir A short drive out from Omakau is Ophir. Nothing much at Ophir except history and that made it well worthwhile. Interesting is the old post office built in 1896, and its Queen Victoria...

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Visiting An Old Hunting Ground

Posted by on Apr 5, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 1 comment

Visiting An Old Hunting Ground

It was to be a fixed wing fly-in with Karla and friend Alan, to wander around some of the places that I had hunted fifty three to fifty seven years to ago. Unfortunately, Alan withdrew due to a family illness. After the long drive down we arrived at the Makarora Tourist Centre at the head of Lake Wanaka, were welcomed by the owner, Rhondda Osmers, then checked with pilot Ryan of Southern Alps Air about our flight the next day. Then we settled into one of the A-Frame cabins for the night. I first came to work on Mt Albert Station, across the Makarora River in 1962. I was employed as a carpenter but also helped with the general station work; mustering, docking and such like. In those days there was no power, all gravel winding roads with fords (small streams flowing across the roads) and always that river. In good weather an old ex army GMC truck or a tractor was used to cross the Makarora. If the river was too deep for them, a dray and horse; if too deep for that, just one of the station horses and if it was too deep and swift for a horse – that was it, no access to the outside world. It didn’t seem bad at all, one just went with the flow, or just watched it! With any real emergency one of the local jet boats could be called upon. The road through to the upper West Coast didn’t open until late 1965.   It was when working on Mt Albert that I first met Dave Osmers. He had a sort of shop or shelves stocked with various items that one could buy off him and he also bought venison, velvets, sinews and such like. It didn’t take long before Dave asked if I could give him a hand with shooting deer on ‘his’ hunting blocks on Mt Albert Station. He hunted all the way up the Wilkin, Young, and the Makarora river flats. Over the years I came down a number of times to do some carpentry work on the Station and to work with Dave, commercial hunting, over the roar period. I remember him once enthusiastically saying, ‘let’s get a hundred stags this roar’. I can’t remember if we did or not but we did shoot a lot anyway. In the gaps with the hunting I also worked on some maintenance on Dave’s motel units. And then came the helicopters. Evan Meredith was the boss and he was short of hunters as at the time the price of venison was about one shilling and three pence a pound while Evan was offering only nine pence a pound working with him. It was a lot less but with the high numbers of deer and using the helicopter, Evan’s price turned out to be very good. Dave and I joined up with Evan’s four other hunters and we hunted the tops of the Wilkin, Jumboland, Newlands, the slopes of Mt Kuri, Tiel Creek and Young Range. The helicopter was only used for transport, not for shooting from as that was illegal. So I ended up pretty fit and got to know Dave very well. He was a good companion, friend and hunter. In-between hunting and somewhere along the...

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The Start of 2019

Posted by on Mar 3, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 1 comment

The Start of 2019

The Terracotta Warriors and Weta Workshop Visits We had three days visiting Wellington city in January, with the aim to have a look through the Weta Workshop (of Lord Of The Rings fame) and to also visit some of the Terracotta Army being displayed at the Museum of New Zealand.  After an early arrival and getting settled into our motel, we caught a bus and headed out to the Weta Workshop complex. To get this far one has to book onto one of the six or so tours, which vary from $28 to $145 for an adult. We chose the more modest Weta Cave Workshop Tour at $65. It was enough for me and it covered much of how they made all the different items for the various films; from monsters, medieval armour, swords and the like, models, and, well, just about anything really. The attention to the detail on any item made was really impressive. Some 48,00 items were made for The Lord of the Rings, 6623 weapons and armour were crafted for The Great Wall film, and I like the comment that the swords made looked real enough but as actors soon got tired if they had to swing the real things around so they made them a lot lighter. Apparently, the Queen’s people heard of this and now if you happen to watch the Queen bestowing a knighthood on someone, it just might be one of those lighter swords made by Weta Workshop! In all it was interesting but just over priced I feel.  The Terracotta Warriors craftsmen could easily get a job at Weta Workshops I’d say. The eight life sized 2300 years old warriors, part of 8000 or so sculptures of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, were on display at the Museum of New Zealand so we went and had a look. Every sculpture was different, perhaps replicating the men in the army? It did make me wonder if each soldier was copied from real life, what happened to the living after? They may have been substitutes instead of being made a sacrifice  but if I was one of them, I’d be a little nervous after my ‘duplicate’ was finished! Also on display were many other items, made of gold, jade and bronze too. The detail on each item was really something special. One really needs to stop awhile, not 2000 odd years but some time to ‘feel’ and look as one watched one of the motionless figures. Well worth seeing and at a modest price too.  We walked through the World War 1, Gallipoli display once more and admired the detailed life looking soldiers and equipment of Peter Jackson’s display.     Lake Rotoiti and Back We had a visitor from London and wished to show her something of our New Zealand way of life regarding our outdoors. We did have a day up to the Mt Arthur Hut and a little beyond, to climb higher than Ben Nevis’ 1345 metres in Scotland so that was a pretty good effort. Later we thought it would be good to experience an overnight stay in a New Zealand mountain hut so off we went. We took it easy going up Lake Rotoiti via the water taxi then we walked over to have...

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November Travels

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

November Travels

Kaikoura Visit (5th – 9th November) Early November we joined our walking group for five days visiting Kaikoura. We headed off through to Pelorus, but stopped for a coffee there, then on to Blenheim and out to Ward Beach for lunch. Before the earthquake of 2016, we had visited and stayed at Ward Beach and watch people launch their boats with the aid of bulldozers. Not now though as the earthquake seemed to have lowered the beach while pushing up other areas. It was hard to remember what it was like but I didn’t see any bulldozers on the beach this time. After lunch we had a short walk along the beach to the south. The earthquake of November 2016 certainly changed a lot of landscape on the way to Kaikoura.  My car gps gadget didn’t have any speed limits noted on this section of the road as there were a number of hold ups, but not for long. The earthquake destruction of this highway and railway was massive but the recently re-opened road (and railway later) still had road working machines and people galore, in action at various places along the route.  Shipping containers lined some sections of the road for the protection from falling rocks but generally, the road was pretty good.  Some parts of this coast was raised more than six metres and a drop of more than two metres in others. Some land was shifted horizontally as much as twelve metres along one fault and vertically as much along another. Nearby Cape Campbell is now 350mm closer to the North Island while back near home, Nelson slipped 50mm South East!  This doesn’t sound much – unless you are standing on the actual spot.  We stopped at Ohau which had some major road works done and still underway. Before the earthquake, one could walk a track beside the stream to a waterfall with a pool at its base in which young seals frolicked around while waiting for their mothers to return. Now it appears that the young seals wait out among the rocks along the sea shore at Ohau. A new car park and view point  had been formed from which it seemed as if we could see hundreds of seals about the rocks. All shapes and sizes and thinking that if each seal ate a number of fish each day, there must be a lot of fish out in the deeper water. I wondered that if we can take fish to eat, why not seals? It might even things up a little from the fish point of view?  At Kaikoura the next day Shirl & I walked along the Peninsular Walk, with views looking down on the shoreline. We had visited Kaikoura in 2002 and 2013 but it was hard to tell of the changes to the beaches after the 2016 – 7.8 (Richter Scale) earthquake but noticeable was the amount of exposed white rocks which I guess had been pushed up by the earthquake. We passed a song thrush bursting with song and further along, a heron, some yellowhammers and a goldfinch were feeding on the grass seed by the edge of the track.  We went down the steps to Whale Bay and over to where there used to be a tern nesting colony...

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I’m Just Wondering – Am I One of the Last New Zealanders?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 2 comments

I’m Just Wondering – Am I One of the Last New Zealanders?

I suppose that it’s since the election that has brought it to the fore plus all this Kiwi stuff,  but thinking back over the years, it seems to me that we are going backwards. Oh, for sure there are many that are sitting pretty but it appears to be at the expense of others and the majority at that. We used to have a democracy but  that’s now long gone.  Years ago there were many who protested against apartheid but now they think that’s okay here now? Going back many more years, they said that with progress, we would be working four day weeks but now for a household, it’s the norm for two adults to work full-time five days a week, sometimes even more and they are scratching to save. In those older days, it was just one person who earned enough to support a family – nothing like today.   A forty hour week was the law, except it wasn’t quite in 1962 (when working on an orchard Mapua, Nelson. It was 44hrs there, even though the law said it was 40 hours everywhere else). Maybe they just took a while to catch up with the rest of the country? We were told that computers would cut costs and save a lot of work so why have costs risen and the hours of work?  Why is it that indigenous races seem to think that they are the only ones to have an attachment to nature and the wild lands?  I can recall, thinking, soon after leaving school, that all of New Zealand should be a National Park! My theory was that instead of us trying to protect wild places from speculators and the like, have them spending time trying to withdraw their properties from the National Park. It is interesting to note that in the UK some of their national parks are indeed similar to this.  Why do I have an affinity with the natural world? Is it the freedom? The space? Once you get away from the huts of course – and it’s not raining! Just who can ‘own’ a mountain? Or a river? Or a lake? Will these  people soon claim ownership of clouds, sunshine or the raindrops? Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that? But then if they claim to own a river, what if it floods? Are the ‘owners’ liable for any damage done?  I like meeting people who have a real feeling for the wild places. I was going to write ‘mountains’ but that’s about all that’s left these days. Those mountains are what one could call reality compared with out overly regulated living world. Some might say the concrete jungle is reality but that is an insult to me.   Every year Parliament makes new laws. Just how many laws are there? One can hardly walk into town without breaking some law on the way. Is that good?  Newspapers are mostly foreign owned and who seem to be more centred in closing down local papers, selling any assets and creaming the profits overseas. Proper local NEWS papers they used to be. The same goes for many other businesses like banks, power companies and internet providers. I can’t figure out how so called intelligent people can believe this foreign ownership is beneficial to New...

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